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The Book of the Order of Chivalry

Text and Context


Ramon Llull (1232-1316) knight, seneschal, courtier at the courts of James I the Conqueror (Aragon)
and Jame's son, King James II (of Majorca and Lord of Montpellier)
Llull's visions of Christ and conversion into a scholar, evangelist and missionary
Texts in theology, biblical analysis, manuals on rhetoric, mysticism, novels, etc.
Wrote in his native Catalan, as well as in Latin and Arabic, in order to reach a larger audience
The Book of the Order of Chivalry is one of his early texts. It was written originally in Catalan, and
addressed to knights as a “classical theoretical manual” for those who couldn't read Latin, but was also
a propagandistic treatise that aimed at reforming the Order of Chivalry, to aid in the struggle against
Islam in the Peninsula and in the Holy Land.
Knights are expected not only to regulate the exterior world by righting wrongs and fighting for a just
cause, but also to regulate themselves and be virtuous Christians.
Knights set the example for acceptable behavior, and police the actions of the habitants of the realm as
well, in defense of their lords and/or the King.
Llull was pointing towards the need for a “unified, cohesive Order with its own hierarchy and code of
conduct” ()
The book's composition was determined by two historical events: the failure of the Second Crusade and
the foundation of the monastery of Miramar in Majorca.
The Second Crusade, rallied by King Louis IX of France (1214-1270) was unsuccesful due to the fact
that many soldiers, including the King himself, died of the plague on the way to the Holy Land. The
Pope, Gregory X, did not find any other monarchs who were willing to commit to fight for the Faith in
the Crusades, which ultimately marked their end.
Llull he was granted permission to found the monastery of Miramar by the Pope, and devised the center
to be an Arabic learning hub for missionary (Franciscan) friars.
Prologue (35-39): Exchange between the hermit and the squire. The hermit's message.The book as
manual, as a communitary tool for learning, reflection and instrospection. (Part 5).
1. On the beginning of chivalry (40-43)
2. On the office that pertains to the knight (44-55)
3. On examining the squire who wishes to join the order of chivalry (56-61)
4. On the way in which the squire shall receive knighthood (62-65)
5. On the meaning of the knight's arms (66-70)*
6. On the habits that pertain to the knight (71-79)
7. On the honour that must be paid to the knight (80-82)

Brainstorming:
Questions for discussion:
Who is a knight? What do knights do? Is anyone worthy of becoming a knight?

What the law said about knights: Alfonso X and the Siete Partidas (13th century Castile)
Honor in the Middle Ages

What are virtues? What are the virtues that a knight must have?
Group work: With the text:
What are some of the habits of said knights? (Part 6)
Knighthood: the political and religious realms converge

Related Interests